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Full text of "An epiphany pastoral to the clergy and laity of the Missionary District of Asheville, N.C."

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E f t^^d p 

C&e Li&rarp 

of i|>e 

Ontoersitp of H3ort& Carolina 

Collection of ji2ort& Catolinfana 
from t&e Efbraq? of 



This book must not 
be taken from the 
Library building. 


Form No. 471 








Brethren of the Clergy and Laity of the District of 
Asheville : — 

More than ordinary responsibility is placed upon us 
by the extraordinary conditions of the world at this time. 
The ecclesiastical affairs of nations are in turmoil as well 
as the political. We are so closely bound together eco- 
nomically, socially and religiously that one nation cannot 
suffer greatly without disturbing somewhat the equilib- 
rium of all others. If the suffering be very great, the 
corresponding disturbance elsewhere is great. 

The interdependence of the nations upon one another 
as to their social and economic equilibrium makes the 
persent disturbed condition of the world a wonderful op- 
portunity for the religious forces of each nation to put 
into operation influences that will be world-wide in their 
effect, and everlasting. 

To make this influence felt intensely everywhere, each 
subject of the World King must work efficiently in every 
little corner, wherever the name of the World King is 
honored above all other names. 

Every layman must be prepared in heart and mind to 
do his part. Individual efficiency combined in corporate 
strength will ultimately gain the victory. 

We are prone to depend too much upon efficient lead- 
ership. We need this leadership, of course, but we also 
need efficient rank and file. 

The able and consecrated clergymen can do compara- 


tively little, unless he is backed by the co-operation of his 
people, and the people will not co-operate until they have 
been instructed and trained. 

In our Church life, we have ignored too much and too 
long the priesthood of the laity. We must put the people 
to work. They must be instructed in the Bible and in 
the history of the Church. They must be properly 
equipped to go out and take hold of the great body of the 
indifferent who care not for holy things. There is a 
Church work to be done by the layman which no clergy- 
man can do. 

I beg, then, of my Clergy to offer the people under 
their charge, the opportunity to learn how to work. 

Form Bible classes and Church History classes. Many 
men are willing to work for Christ and His Church, if 
they only knew how and where. In this way each clergy- 
man might put two, five or ten men at work and so mul- 
tiply his own efficiency many times, it may be, in reaching 
out to, and gathering in, the multitudes who know not 
Christ and care not for His Church — and I beg of my 
brethren of the laity to offer themselves gladly to co- 
operate with the clergy in this time of the world's great 

We may be far away in the mountains, but, perhaps, 
we might be surprised to find how quickly some things 
said and done in some far away mountain cove are known 
in the great cities and affect directly or indirectly the 
Church life of "them that are far off and of them that 
are nigh." We do not live to ourselves, we are members 


of the Church of God, which has no limitations in time 
or in space. We are living in an age, the most strenuous 
the world has ever known. To accomplish great things, 
it is often times necessary to deal with and use little 
things. The man, who neglects the little things, never has 
the opportunity to touch the big things of life. 

In the Eternity of God, Life and Death are not far 
apart; we may estimate life as small, and death as great; 
or we may consider death as small and life as great. 
Which shall it be ? For the Christian man, death is swal- 
lowed up in the victory of life. 

Often times the little things are so magnified that the 
really big things are hidden. In contemplating the unseen 
things of God, this occurs oftener than we might imagine. 

The history of the Church shows how often men have 
allowed comparatively little things to cause disturbances 
tremendous in their evil tendencies and results. A perti- 
nent instance is upon us at this very time in the disturb- 
ance caused by the proposed conference at Panama. In 
itself it might have been an indifferent affair, but because 
of the imagination of some as to what might be done or 
might be thought by some one else, it is causing much 

I have written this much as a kind of introduction to 
what I wish to say about some things that are looked 
upon with indifference in certain quarters because they 
touch in those places comparatively few people. 

In our District, however, certain objectionable teach- 
ings have assumed such proportions as to cause some of 


our Church people distress, and alarm, and they wish an 
expression of opinion and advice from their Bishop. 

Many words in every language from age to age change 
in their meaning and content. Two words pertaining to 
ecclesiastical affairs, have undergone a violent change in 
meaning and content, — the word Catholic, and the word 

These words, as used now by perhaps nine-tenths of 
the people, have not the same meaning they originally and 
etymologically had. 


Original, etymological meaning of the words: 
Catholic — Universal, comprehensive, general. The 
Catholic Church=the Church for all peoples 
of all nations. 

Catholic doctrines and practices are the doc- 
trines and practices of the Bible as taught by 
the Apostles and their immediate successors. 

Protestant — (From two Latin words, pro — testis), wit- 
ness for. 

The Protestant Church=the Church wit- 
nessing for the truth of the Catholic faith 
against the errors and corruptions of the 
Church of the mediaeval period. 



Present meaning of the words, 
(as used by the great majority of the people of the U. S.) : 
Catholic — Roman. The Catholic Church=the Roman 

Catholic Church. 
Protestant — Anti-Roman. A Protestant Church = a 
Church opposed to the Roman Catholic 

There seems to be an almost hopeless confusion in the 
use of these words by certain extreme partisans in the 
Church. The so-called extreme Catholic party use the 
word Catholic as applied to themselves in its original 
meaning, and the word Protestant as applied to others in 
its second — present day — meaning. 

The so-called extreme Protestant party use the word 
Protestant as applied to themselves in its original, etymo- 
logical meaning, and the word Catholic as applied to 
others in its second — present day — meaning. 

This confusion as to the meaning of words, has caused 
much misunderstanding and hard feelings on the part of 
those who are full of partisanship in their thoughts and 
feelings, but we must bear in mind that the great majority 
of the membership of the Episcopal Church will not iden- 
tify themselves with either of these extreme parties, and 
this position is taken because neither of ignorance nor of 

We should all be both Protestant and Catholic if these 
words are used with their original significance, and we 
should be neither, if the words are used with their second 
derived significance. 



There is, however, a more serious tendency than this 
contention over the meaning and use of words. There 
is a feeling on the part of some that the Protestant Episco- 
pal Church has comparatively little authority as to the 
doctrines and practices of her members, and none at all 
when in conflict with the teaching and practice of the 
Church of the past twelve or thirteen centuries. 

Since the Ecumenical Councils, held before the divis- 
ion between the Church of the East and the Church of 
the West, there has been no council of the whole Church, 
but only National and Provincial councils. No National 
or Provincial Council has authority except over the people 
within the nation or province. 

The General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal 
Church is a body of as great dignity, learning and author- 
ity as any council held in any country at any time since 
the Ecumenical Councils of the first centuries. It is the 
only conucil that has any authority to legislate on certain 
matters for the people of the Episcopal Church in the 
United States of America. 

A National Council legislates as to doctrine and prac- 
tice, by Canon-Law, by Liturgy, by Offices of devotion, 
authorized for use by the people. 

A Church Council of one nation has no authority what- 
ever to legislate for the Church people of another nation 
and of another time. 

The individual has no authority whatever in contra- 
vention of the Council to which he owes allegiance. 


Individuals of every age may be cited, perhaps, to 
prove most any doctrine, if individual testimony were suf- 
ficient to establish the truth of the doctrine. 

The source of authority for any doctrine or practice, 
if traced only to the decrees of some National Council, is 
worthless as far as the people of another nation and an- 
other age are concerned. These are important and ac- 
cepted principles in the determination of ecclesiastical 
matters. The General Convention of the Protestant Epis- 
copal Church has as much right and authority to put forth 
a manual of devotion in her Prayer Book, outlining doc- 
trines and practices, as any Council of the Church of Eng- 
land, or of France, or of Rome, and this convention is the 
only one that has any authority as to such matters for the 
members of the Church in this country. 

During the Middle Ages, after the first few centuries 
when the Church was undivided, the Roman Church grew 
enormously in influence and power. It was during this 
period that certain doctrines and practices gained a dom- 
inating influence that became, because of their baneful 
results, intolerable to a great body of the people in Eng- 
land and in Europe. The opposition to these doctrines 
and practices culminated in the Reformation of the six- 
teenth century. I wish to call your attention to three of 
these doctrines and practices that were specially objection- 
able : 

I. Auricular Confession and Penance. 
II. Perpetual Reservation of the Blessed Sacra- 


III. Invocation of Saints. 
These doctrines and practices (the practice and doc- 
trine always go together), can be traced back to no ecu- 
menical council ; and no national or provincial council, to 
which they may be traced, has any authority, whatever, 
for the Church people of this country. Citations may be 
made from certain holy and good men of the early Church 
in support of these things, but individuals are not compe- 
tent as authority in such matters. The Bible, the Creeds, 
and the Liturgies authorized by the Church of the Apos- 
tolic age and of the centuries immediately following, alone 
can be cited to justify the claim for doctrine and practice 
as truly Catholic. 


Private Auricular Confession was for the first time 
authorized and at the same time rendered obligatory in 
the Fourth Lateran Council, held in the year 121 5. This 
was a distinctive Roman Catholic Council. About the 
same time the form of absolution, "I absolve thee, etc.," 
was introduced in the Church. So doctrines, connected 
with the Confessional, are to be considered Mediaeval and 
Roman and not Catholic, in the credal sense of that term. 

Moreover, private auricular confession, except in case 
of emergency for a troubled conscience, and the form of 
absolution, "I absolve thee, etc.," with the doctrine and 
practice of penance, have been definitely repudiated by the 
Protestant Episcopal Church, and may not be taught or 
practiced with authority by any priest of the Church. 
These things are tolerated and practiced by some because 


they believe them to be the practice of the Church from 
the first, but when we go back far enough and examine 
the records and manuals of the early Church, we find the 
confession public, and the absolution precatory, as in the 
Liturgy of the Protestant Episcopal Church of today. 

I dwell upon this matter at some length, because, 
though it may seem a matter of little import to some, yet 
when the history of the private confessional is studied, we 
find so much of evil resulting therefrom with so little good 
to counteract the evil, that the average man rebels. The 
Church of England protested, bearing witness to the truth 
of the Catholic faith of the first centuries. 

The Church of England and the Church in the United 
States of America continue to protest, to bear witness, 
against these Mediaeval practices. I give two extracts 
here, one from the title page of "The History of the Con- 
fessional," by Bishop Hopkins, which book I commend to 
all who wish to go into a thorough study of the subject, 
and the other from Hume, the historian. Hume, per- 
haps, may not be the highest authority as to facts of his- 
tory, yet when making an estimate of tendencies of the 
times, no one can be considered more trustworthy: 

"At what doth the doctrine concerning Auricular 
Confession aim, but that thereby the priests may have a 
mighty awe on the conscience of all people, may dive into 
their secrets, may manage their lives as they please? 

"And what doth a like necessary particular absolution 
intend, but to get the priest in a lofty state of authority 
above the people, as a judge of each man's condition and 


dispenser of his salvation?" — Barrow, Treatise on the 
Pope's Supremacy." 

Hume speaks of Auricular Confession as "One of the 
most powerful engines that ever was contrived for de- 
grading the laity, and giving their spiritual guides an en- 
tire ascendant over them. And it may justly be said, that, 
though the priest's absolution, which attends confession, 
serves somewhat to ease weak minds from immediate 
agonies of superstitious terror, it operates only by enforc- 
ing superstition itself, and thereby preparing the mind for 
a more violent relapse into the same disorders." — Hume, 
History of England, Vol. III., p. 341. 

It is needless for me to go into particulars as to the 
other two doctrines and practices to which I referred, 
viz. : Perpetual Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament 
and Invocation of Saints. Both of these are unauthorized 
by our Church, and are not Catholic, but Mediaeval prac- 
tices and are connected with evil and corrupt tendencies. 
Because of such tendencies and practices the Church of 
England made definite and decided protest. 

Do not, I beg of you, allow yourselves to be wedded 
to Roman and Mediaeval practices, thinking they are 
Catholic. Do not allow words to fret and worry you be- 
cause they are not properly used or correctly defined. The 
Protestant is or should be Protestant because he wishes 
to contend for and bear witness to the Catholic faith, as 
contained in the Bible and Creeds and upheld by the first 
ages of the Church. 

Be zealous workers for God and His Church, and pray 

earnestly, that peace may be preached to them that are 
far off and to them that are nigh, and that God will hasten 
the coming of His Kingdom. 

The great work of the Church and of the individual 
is to extend the Kingdom of God. If we will magnify 
this duty, the little things of words and their meanings, 
and the misunderstandings as to motives will inevitably 
fall into obscurity, and we will all be the happier. 

The great majority of the membership of the Episco- 
pal Church decline to identify themselves with either of 
the extreme parties, because they feel that neither party 
in their partisanship represent the true position of the 

They prefer to be Catohlic, but not Roman or Mediae- 
val. They prefer to be Protestant, but not in the sense of 
being merely anti-Roman. They take this position not 
because of timidity or cowardice nor because of ignor- 
ance, but rather because they are brave to hold a bold 
vision of the whole Church united, destined to hold sway 
over the whole world with a teaching that is Biblical, 
Apostolic and truly Catholic.